Is the next game critical for our EPL season?

So we have played 3 games in the EPL for 3 losses against:

  • Brentford: 2-0 away
  • Chelsea: 0-2 at home
  • Man City 5-0 away

So 0 point, 0 goal scored, 9 goals conceded.

Our next few games are:

  • Norwich at home
  • Burnley away
  • Tottenham at home
  • Brighton away
  • Palace at home

So 3 games at home against Norwich, Tottenham and Palace and 2 away at Burnley and Brighton.

Besides Tottenham, none of the team are “EPL power houses” although Brighton is improving with quality players and Norwich can be dangerous at times.

15 points to be taken and I would stay that we should expect/aim to take at least 10 points BUT if we do not win against Norwich, it could become very tough for us to catch the top half of the EPL table because others may take more points than us and the gap will widen but also because the mood around the team won’t change…until we get a convincing win. For that, I believe that the Norwich game could be a defining game in our season. Win it and you change the mood and get on an upward trajectory…otherwise, we re stuck and pressure piles on the team and Arteta…

So here is my preferred line-up if players are fit enough to start:

Leno – Holding, White, Gabriel – Chambers, Partey, Lokonga, Tierney – Saka, ESR – Laca

I am not a fan of Leno but he did well during last game so we cannot drop him yet.

Here is my prediction…a hard earned 2-1 win with Pepe or Auba delivering us from the bench with the winning goal.

COYG!

32 Responses to Is the next game critical for our EPL season?

  1. RockyLives says:

    Spot on RC.

    I’ll be watching from behind the sofa.

  2. RA says:

    Afternoon, RC.

    I could not find anything to disagree with in your Post!! 😁

    There is however something I read recently, which I knew nothing about that may make some impact on how you see the team line up for our upcoming games.

    In the last Estonia game against Bale’s Wales, the reports I saw praised a certain young man, who’s name may be familiar to you, for preventing the Welsh from scoring a number of “certain’ goals, and easing their way into the top two in their table.

    The name – You ask? None other than 19 y.o Karl Hein one of our upcoming young goal keepers, who despite playing international games for his country has never played a first team game for Arsenal, despite his known talent.

    He apparently saved shot after shot from Bale and Co during the match, and upset the Wales team so much that the goalless draw felt like a loss to them.

    Certainly he is one to keep an eye on for the future. 😁

    [Hi, Rocky] 👍

  3. Las says:

    Thanks RC,
    However I expect 13 points from the next five game not to feel the heat.
    COYG!

  4. Aaron says:

    ESR is out, how is AFC going to chance create with just Ode?

    Seriously….

    Players better be pumped as Norwich press, and have a slightly better xG than us and played a tougher schedule so far.

    Who Arteta plays in mid will determine the game, and if Partey can stay on the pitch, if not lather rinse repeat!

  5. VP says:

    excellent write up RC
    onwards and can only go upwards

    my only petty criticism is that with 1 minor trophy in the last 30yrs, spuds literally cannot be called a powerhouse

  6. fred1266 says:

    Perfect game for AMN to show what he can do in midfield so far Not

  7. Aaron says:

    Well, AFC started stronger, however Norwich grew into the half.
    Looks 50-50 to the eye test.

    Auba with two chances, one from a mile out, and Norwich with a glancing header in the box.

    0-0 seems fair enough.

    Not seeing anything from AFC’s mid to make me think that they have a set up to create chances especially without Partey and ESR.

    Can AFC nick a goal? If not, living dangerously.

  8. fred1266 says:

    AMN more to RB come on mate take it with ope arms

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Phew!!!

    Great things come from small beginnings.

    Not sure any more needs to be said! 😂

  10. fatgingergooner says:

    Not sure how many beers I’ve had, but pretty sure I’ve just heard Merson (in the same sentence) say that Ronaldo won United the game today with his ‘big goals’ but also that he didn’t score the big goals last season and that’s why Inter won the league.

    The Sky pundits really are terrible. Clinton Morrison was watching our game. He can’t even speak!!!

    Never thought I’d say this but I’d rather listen to Rio, Savage and the rest on BT Sport.

  11. RA says:

    Well that was a relief!!

    Still the team was very different to the first 3 games — and as you know — a win is a win.

    What we need now – for those of us who could. not go to the Ems, is LB or his dad, LBG, or any other AA’er who wants to write a report/Post, as ‘Man at the Game’ to give us a personal viewpoint, particularly about the tactics, and whether the team gelled out on the pitch, please.

  12. fred1266 says:

    I rather cur my head of rather than listen to them

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    Hi RA,

    Complete guess….but I’d imagine with 5 new signings and AMN starting, the gelling process still has some way to go. Very interesting that Arteta put 5 out of his 6 new players straight into the side. He’s going to live or die by these signings, and fair play to him for that. It’s his team, and hopefully he moulds it into a solid one.

  14. RockyLives says:

    A win for the good guys; Spuds hammered by Paddy V… all in all a good day.

    I didn’t see the match so, as RA says, a report from someone who saw it would be most welcome.

  15. RC78 says:

    I think we played 42121:
    Ramsdale – Tomiyasu, White, Gabs, Tierney – Lokonga, AMN – Ode – Pepe, Saka – Auba

    5 summer signings starting, knowing that Lokonga will pbbly drop to the bench once Partey is fit…Which also begs the question about Odegaard, does he drop the bench when ESR is fit again or will ESR play on the left wing and then Pepe drops to the bench…For me, the ideal scenario is to see Odegaard on the bench.

    A win is a win but I saw the highlights and we gave away plenty of chances in the first half and life only got easier once we scored the goal. Auba and Pepe should have added more goals for us but in any case, a good result but not a great performance.

    We will take the 3 points and now we hope that this is the start of a positive sting of results. COYG!

  16. fred1266 says:

    Odegard is just a mystery to me je made just one brilliant pass whole game IMO other than that nothing

    I just want to see more from him all am seeking is same thing as his loan spell which for me wasn’t anything special

  17. LB says:

    I’m cycling from the top of France to the bottom, didn’t see the game so can’t really help.
    On a side not, thanks for the encouragement VP.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC, I didn’t see the full live game so can only pass comment based on the highlights and stats. I dont always put great stock in stats but they can give you a food idea at times where a developing team is heading.

    My initial reaction was a relief that we won but tinged with slight concern that we could only muster a tight 1-0 win at home against Norwich. However once I saw the highlights and the stats I was more encouraged.

    We seemed fairly evenly matched in possession and passing statistics but then I looked at Norwich’s stats in these areas in other games.

    Man City aside, who tend to dominate possession and passing stats in every game, it would appear that Norwich are a decent possession based team because they tend to get close to the 50% possession in each game and match the other team in passing stats.

    The best one to compare with is their game vs Liverpool who weren’t that much ahead of our stats yesterday with those 2 areas.

    However these aren’t always the most important stats because possession and passing just for the sake of it without any threat or cutting edge up front is no good. I’d rather sacrifice in those statistical areas for improved shots, shots on goal, and expected goal rate.

    This we did dominate yesterday and is by far the most encouraging aspect. 30 shots on goal with 7 on target indicated we were creating. This is important and I was really pleased to see Pepe, ESR, and Saka all trying to get into goal-scoring positions and getting shots off on target.

    Add Odegaard to those 3 and look at their ages and there is plenty if time for all those 4 to become goal scoring players. I think players like Saka and ESR will juat click at some point and suddenly hit a purple patch with goal scoring. The ingredients are all there.

    Hopefully it will click in at some point in the near future this season because frankly I think for us to have a strong season we will need 30 to 40 goals from those 4 combined.

    In answer to your thought on what happens when Partey is back RC I still stand by my slightly ambitious, possibly gung ho, thoughts that we should play Partey as a sole DM with 2 number 8 / 10 hybrid players in CM with him and still have 2 wide attackers. In essence I would play Odegaard, ESR, Saka, Pepe all behind Auba.

  19. VP says:

    LB I wish I could be riding with you.
    Your trip looks amazing. Is it mainly roads or trails?
    Meanwhile here in Melbourne we are 220+ days in lockdown, cannot go past 5km from home and have to be inside by 9pm.

    COYG!

  20. LB says:

    50-50 trails and road VP.
    Your lock down seems so excessive.

  21. VP says:

    When looking at how Arteta has started this season and the challenges that he has faced with player illness and player transfers etc. I often look over at new Aussie coach Ange Postecoglou at Celtic.
    He was an unhearlded coach that no-one knew.
    He inherited a stagnent team that was underperforming and fans that were not happy.
    He oversaw the selling of 16 players and bringing in 12 new players.
    He came in with clear vision and purpose, got the team to gel very quickly and they all got on board to his vision and the fans love his vision, are now supportive and behind him. (Vision is to play attractive attacking football)
    6 games in and his results are 4 wins and 2 losses, 15 goals for and 5 against. He has considerable momentum now and they should do well.

    Its now time for Arteta to build the same momentum and get a winning streak going. Start banging those goals in.
    We should win the next 8 games (incl the Spuds & Leic) if Arteta can get the best out of our team. The 21st Nov Liverpool game should be our next real test of character of what the Arsenal are capable of this season.

    COYG!

  22. GoonerB says:

    VP, you are right. We, and Arteta, need significant momentum in the 8 games that began with Norwich. I put forward a target of getting 20 points from the 24 on offer.

    Is that realistic? I think so given the run of fixtures and the squad we have. 6 wins and 2 draws.

  23. RA says:

    Good afternoon, All,

    I have had an opportunity to read various reports of our current manager, Arteta, and even his predecessor, Unai Emery, and have been surprised at something many of you would have possibly taken for granted.

    I liked Unai when he first became our then manager/coach. His facial flexibility, his amusing gurning and his reflexively projecting a leg out from a sitting position whenever one of our players took a shot at goal during the game, only to grasp his head in his hands so that it did not fall off, when there was an inevitable miss.

    Mikel at first seemed to be the precise opposite of Unai with his shadow beard helping to hide any facial rictus when we missed a simple tap in. Different, but somehow ‘samey’.

    The biggest similarity between the two was that they were appointed at a time when we, and they, were promised that investments in quality new players would be made available.
    On occasions that seemed to be the case, but the investments may have been aimed at the wrong players, and in my opinion that was ofter painfully obvious.

    As is the case in Premier League football, the fans usually gave the new manager, whoever it was, the benefit of any doubt about any new recruit he brought in, and any variation in the tactics he preferred, despite mounting concern from fans over their merit.

    Bit by bit, the fan base turned and became more and more angry with each manager as the results of games, we should have won, went against us.

    [Sadly, the Blog seems to be fading away — 🥲 — and I may be chatting to myself – not for the first time – so I will stop there, and continue if someone, anyone, pops up and agrees, or disagrees, with me — and I will then proceed with caution, and give some additional observations that you can all boo at.]

    I am going to cross my fingers, toes and eyes – which those who know me will tell others that is the only way I normally look anyway — hopefully, this is just a short absence for you guys, because of the Internationals and the fact we are not in any European competition this season – and you will be back when you are ready.
    Fingers crossed. 🤞🤞

  24. VP says:

    RA, I enjoy this blog because of the so many rational discussions that enable you to understand the different viewpoints on good/bad team setups, good/bad players, good/bad coach etc.

    Other sites its like sheep BAAAing and banging heads.

    As for patience running low on consecutive coaches and games that we should have won etc. Sadly we are torn, loyalty to a long term coach (per the Wenger years) or a new coach every couple of years (per Chelsea) if we are not getting consistent wins and trophies.

    I dont know the answer as I start humming how many times can a man turn his head And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

  25. RA says:

    Well said, VP, and I agree with you with all those points.

    As for myself, I have many times tried to simply walk away from Blogdom because I have felt that there are relatively few things that have remained unsaid on the blog – [team selection; tactics; player quality; a manager’s ability (or the lack thereof); the club owner’s promises of investing in transfers, or not; etc, etc; ] – and therefore it can all become repetitive and a little boring.

    Fortunately, AA has, over the years, attracted top quality bloggers, who are rational, intelligent and interesting when they explain their views — and only a very few who are totally the opposite to that.

    Time after time I have returned to read what my fellow fans are saying — and in truth I am addicted to Arsenal Arsenal.

    I have my fingers crossed that when Saturday comes, and proper football resumes, and with it the Blog will resume, and we can glory in some wonderful young players who may be introduced to the first team roster, and will help Arsenal once again to start climbing the league this season. 😁

  26. RC78 says:

    New post everyone

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